Watch Mr. & Mrs. Smith
- 1 hr 34 min
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a classic screwball comedy film directed by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, which marks a departure from his usual genre of thrillers. Released in 1941, the film stars Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, and Gene Raymond. Despite Hitchcock's reputation for dark, suspenseful narratives, in this rare foray into the realm of romantic comedy, he demonstrates his versatility as a director by delivering a light-hearted tale of love, marriage, and the tangles that ensue from an absurd premise.
The film revolves around the seemingly blissful married life of David and Ann Smith, portrayed with electric chemistry by Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery. The couple, residing in New York City, has an unconventional relationship full of endearing quirks, such as their rule of answering every question honestly every time they cross the state line. They seemingly embrace a passionate, albeit slightly eccentric, marriage which stands out in its portrayal as both comedic and sincere.
Yet, beneath the surface of their playful marital sparring, the premise introduces a twist that turns their lives upside down. The Smiths discover due to a legal technicality—their marriage was never valid. The couple is presented with a scenario where what they once took for granted is suddenly brought into question. This revelation sets off a series of events that form the crux of the comedic narrative: Should they remain together now that they find themselves technically unmarried?
Ann Smith, played by the radiant Carole Lombard in one of her last performances before her tragic death, is a clever, independent woman who holds her own in the face of the film's unfolding chaos. Her charismatic presence on screen adds a layer of charm to the fast-paced dialogues and contributes greatly to the comedic timing that the film is celebrated for. Her character’s reaction to the news of their marital situation takes the audience on an exploration of emotions, expectations, gender roles, and the complexities of love.
Robert Montgomery's portrayal of David Smith is just as pivotal. Displaying a blend of suaveness and bewilderment, Montgomery's character is an attorney who must apply his legal mind to the most personal case of his life. Through a series of comedic mishaps and attempts to navigate their new status, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery and contemplates the essence of commitment and what it truly means to be a husband.
The plot thickens with the addition of Gene Raymond’s character, who enters the scene as a charming and attentive figure. He provides a counterpoint to Montgomery’s David and further complicates the couple’s decision-making process. The interplay among the three characters, laden with witty banter and comedic misunderstandings, fuels the core dynamic of the film.
The narrative delves into farcical situations that the characters must navigate, featuring traditional elements of the screwball genre such as mistaken intentions, romantic confusion, and a series of escapades that keep the audience guessing as to how the story will unfold. Romantic entanglements become ever more convoluted, and the film utilizes this pandemonium to deftly explore and ultimately affirm the bonds of true love amid chaos.
Hitchcock's directing style, while different from his norm, is still evident in the way he crafts scenes and tension, albeit for laughs rather than thrills. His ability to direct actors in creating delightful performances is clear, and while Mr. & Mrs. Smith might not have the hallmark intensity of his later works, it showcases his ability to bring out nuanced performances in service of an engaging story.
Known for its sharp dialogue, penned by screenwriter Norman Krasna, the film delivers a script that resonates with audiences due to its humorous and occasionally biting repartee. This dialogue, alongside the engaging performances and Hitchcock’s direction, drives the film through a series of comedic twists and turns.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith offers audiences a nostalgic glimpse into Hollywood's golden age of comedy, where laughter was derived from clever writing, situational comedy, and the undeniable charm of its leading actors. It stands as an intriguing piece in Hitchcock’s filmography, a testament to the director’s range and command of various cinematic styles.
As a whole, Mr. & Mrs. Smith manages to encapsulate a romantic, comedic journey through a battle of wits, wills and the labyrinth of love. It retains its reputation as a delightful cinematic experience that provides escapism and entertainment—attributes that have enabled it to remain a beloved entry in the catalogs of classic cinema.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a 1941 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3.